This fall, similar to last, YSU copes with another 4 percent enrollment decline. As a result, millions in projected revenue vanishes.
After crunching some numbers, Neal McNally, budget director, estimates that the operating deficit will wind up being around $2.7 million, due to an influx of out-of-state students and higher tuition costs.
Still, department budgets will be skimmed and vacancies will remain. Perhaps we’ll even see another request for voluntary concessions.
Let’s flash back to summer, when the board of trustees reviewed McNally’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal. Enrollment was projected to remain stagnant. However, $1 million was reallocated to a contingency fund to compensate for a loss of students not exceeding 1 percent of enrollment.
Scott Schulick, a trustee, raised concerns over whether the amount would be sufficient, to which McNally replied with a “we’ll-cross-that-bridge-when-we-get-to-it” response.
Jack Fahey, vice president for student affairs, admitted at that point in the summer, enrollment numbers were down from the same time the year prior.
Yet, the budget passed unanimously.
Eastern Gateway Community College has been growing steadily over the past few years, and its largest area of growth has been the Youngstown-Warren area.
The cheap, local alternative has been siphoning students since 2009. Admittedly, new marketing initiatives and proactive financial measures have softened the blow compared to years past, but retroactive cuts inhibit academic and intellectual progress on campus.
As gallant as it was to be optimistic about enrollment, stubbornness and an unwillingness to accept reality prevailed this summer.